During the past four years, the duo have been to the Class 1A volleyball semifinals as freshmen, won state championships as sophomores and juniors, and picked up their third trophy in as many years Thursday. However, this year’s trophy was for runner-up.
Donoho was unable to top Addison after defeating the Bulldogs for the previous two state championship matches. Addison swept the two-time defending champions 25-22, 25-14, 25-16.
“We didn’t respond like we needed to, but that happens sometimes,” Donoho coach Janice Slay said. “I’m really proud of the girls, though, because they didn’t give in and didn’t fold. That’s all I can ask.”
Donoho gave Addison its all in the first set, leading for a majority of the set before Addison made its move midway through, scoring eight of 10 points to take a 21-18 lead.
Addison’s lead extended to 23-20 before Donoho gained momentum with a late rally, scoring the next two points, one of which was a kill by Phillis. However, Addison would score the next two points to win the set.
“I think not being able to pull out that first game, we lost a little bit of confidence we weren’t able to get back,” Slay said. “We really had some momentum, it took the wind out of us and we just couldn’t get it back.”
Addison started the second set with a 7-1 lead and never gave Donoho much of a chance to make a comeback. Addison pushed it out to a 14-6 lead, then scoring nine of 13 points to finish the set.
After Donoho took a 6-5 lead in the third set, Addison made another move, quickly regaining the lead and putting the set out of reach with a 6-2 run to make the score 20-12.
Phillis finished with seven kills and 10 digs and Segrest added 25 assists and 13 digs. Camille Fink had seven kills, Jordan Ray had six kills and 12 digs, and Kayla Wallace and Hannah Christian had four kills each.
“They just turned it up a notch,” Slay said. “That’s probably the most balanced team of theirs that we’ve played in the last four years. I knew it was going to be a major battle and we’d have to be almost perfect to stay in it.”
Despite Donoho not playing perfectly and falling in the championship, it was a battle for the Falcons just to reach the finals.
At the beginning of the season, not many thought the Falcons would have a chance to complete back-to-back-to-back championships. Donoho rode its two seniors, Phillis and Segrest, to within one win of another crown.
“I can’t say enough about Corey and Rylee. They took this team on their backs,” Slay said. “They’ve tried everything that can to be the leaders that I’ve asked them to be and be fantastic players on top of that. They’re just awesome kids and I’m going to miss them so much.”
While Donoho did win its third trophy over the last three years, Slay said she knows Phillis and Segrest wanted this year’s championship because this was their senior year. She added they would have done nearly anything to get it.
“I think if they could have dug one more hole for whatever it would have taken, they would have dug one more hole,” the coach said. “I wouldn’t trade those two for anybody else on this whole championship level. They have more heart and more desire than any other players.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star